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Armory week preview

Post #1151 • April 2, 2008, 11:40 AM • 19 Comments

I returned from New York City with a head cold and a thrown-out back, and I have to somehow make it down to teach class today, so Armory week reportage must wait a bit. I do want to mention, though, that excepting my excellent company at the fairs, the high point of the trip was Courbet at the Met and the show at the Asia Society. Art fair art that might have unleashed a torrent of low regard from my typing fingers at one time simply bounced off of the glow that welled up from my psyche upon seeing Courbet and Utagawa. The Armory, in particular, was like attending a family reunion of someone else's family, watching their little rituals without feeling inclined to take part. Over the weekend I heard from my friends at the Aegean Center, where I have spent many happy hours on the island that plied the Greek Empire with the most beautiful carving marble ever to come out of the earth. I looked over the cubicled tchotchkes in New York and thought, oh, if only you knew what art could be.

Comment

1.

Jack

April 2, 2008, 12:28 PM

Which Utagawa would that be, Franklin? Or do you mean the Utagawa school as a group? I really envy your seeing that show. I've become very enamored of Japanese prints. And I'm sure the Courbet was not too shabby, either.

2.

Franklin

April 2, 2008, 12:34 PM

Two or three Utagawas, if memory serves.

3.

opie

April 2, 2008, 12:37 PM

"... oh, if only you knew what art could be."

Like the arctic snow, it is melting away. Students have no idea any more. Art is something you do to be a star, or "whatever". So long, been good to know ya.

4.

Eric

April 2, 2008, 2:00 PM

"Courbet and Utagawa"

I like the metaphor of good art as force field.

5.

Jack

April 2, 2008, 2:23 PM

The two main ones would be Kuniyoshi and Kunisada (the latter also known as Toyokuni). They both had many pupils, who would also have used the Utagawa surname. However, the Utagawa school, though it started in the latter 18th century, was primarily a 19th century enterprise.

Traditionally, and to a somewhat lesser extent now, 19th century (latter Edo period) prints have been considered decadent artistically--relative to the 18th century, which is considered the Golden Age, crowned by Sharaku and Utamaro in the 1790s.

6.

ec

April 2, 2008, 3:11 PM

The Courbet snow paintings...shocking, no? Loved those. Umber, siena, white. Period.
Also the great "Bonjour, Monsieur..."-the sunlight richocheting off Courbet's hat.

7.

Pretty Lady

April 2, 2008, 4:29 PM

Very strange. I have a cold, too, manifesting as a sore throat which is migrating down to my lungs. Perhaps we resonate with different but similar germs, as well as different but similar styles of art.

8.

Marc Country

April 2, 2008, 5:20 PM

Nice to know that, whatever our differences, we can all have a thick, green mucous in common...

9.

Jack

April 2, 2008, 6:11 PM

Marc, please, if you must be phlegmatic, do it in private.

10.

opie

April 2, 2008, 9:33 PM

It's those Courbet snow paintings that do it...

11.

Eric

April 3, 2008, 9:17 AM

My in-depth art fair coverage.

12.

Eric

April 3, 2008, 9:23 AM

Sorry that I put one extra slash at the end of that link, and killed it. Killed it!. Here is the right link.

">Art Fairs

13.

Eric

April 3, 2008, 9:25 AM

Okay now I realize that it isn't me. Franklin for some reason hyperlinks aren't working. I type in a specific URL into the html code and when you click on it after it is posted it modifies the URL in some way, rendering the link useless.

14.

Franklin

April 3, 2008, 9:33 AM

Let's just see about that.

15.

Eric

April 3, 2008, 9:43 AM

Me stupid.

16.

JL

April 3, 2008, 11:57 AM

There's at least one Utagawa Kunisada in the Asia Society exhibition.

17.

Jack

April 3, 2008, 12:57 PM

The triptych (three prints, obviously) that JL links to is of mainly historical or documentary interest concerning the kabuki theater, but it is of no great artistic merit (which was not the chief motivation for making it). In other words, this is not a good example of Kunisada's talent, certainly not at its best. I expect there were better prints by him in the show, as he was extremely prolific and had a long career (he worked pretty much until his death in 1865).

18.

Jack

April 3, 2008, 3:52 PM

By the way, JL (or Franklin), it's not clear from the link to the Japanese show if there were any prints by Utamaro, who is mentioned but not illustrated. As one of the greatest names in ukiyo-e, unsurpassed in his depictions of women, surely he had to be included.

19.

JL

April 4, 2008, 7:33 AM

I don't know if there are any works by Utamaro in the show, not having seen it. The mention of him on the website doesn't make it sound like he is in there, though, which is surprising. I know that the curators would have had access to work by him--if nothing else, Sebastian Izzard, one of the curators, features an Utamaro print in his selected online inventory. The exhibition catalog should come in a few weeks, I'll try to remember to take a look and see if he's in it.

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